More questions from a Lutheran


#1

First of all thanks to everyone for answering my previous questions, here are some more:

If Mary is sinless why didn’t she have an unusually long life like Adam or
Eve? Was her body still tainted by sin but her spirit pure? Is this not a Gnostic belief then?

Legal Justification issues: As Lutherans we believe that Jesus death was a legal payment for our salvation—that we are saved by Christ’s works. God’s law demanded a perfect sacrifice, in the Old Testament animals (that were not perfect only sufficient for the time being) and in the NT it is Christ. I just heard on Catholic Answers live the Q&A person state that God could have just willed us to be saved without Christ’s death and resurrection. I have the following questions then:

Why didn’t God the Father just make all of us sinless like Mary and skip sending Jesus?

If God the Father could just “will” us to be saved without Jesus death and resurrection doesn’t that make Him crazy? Killing someone to show love is madness. Why did he take the “Jesus” route?

Psalm89


#2

[quote=Psalm89]If Mary is sinless why didn’t she have an unusually long life like Adam or Eve? Was her body still tainted by sin but her spirit pure? Is this not a Gnostic belief then?
[/quote]

By the time Mary came along, God had already changed the average life span of humans. Mary died simply because God willed it just as we all will die at the will of God when it is time for us to face His judgment as did Mary.

[quote=Psalm89]Why didn’t God the Father just make all of us sinless like Mary and skip sending Jesus?
[/quote]

Because Mary’s sinlessness was only granted to her in order to provide the pure vessel (both physically and spiritually) which would be the human tabernacle of Jesus and the Arc of the New Covenant. In all other respects, Mary was just like you and I and she maintained her free will through it all. The fulness of grace she received simply prepared her to say “yes” where Eve said “no.” I consider it a wonderful blessing that Mary received this special grace because it allowed me to receive that grace which has been given to me and which I do not deserve; that grace won for us all through His sacrifice on the Cross.

[quote=Psalm89]If God the Father could just “will” us to be saved without Jesus death and resurrection doesn’t that make Him crazy? Killing someone to show love is madness. Why did he take the “Jesus” route?
[/quote]

Because God doesn’t want drones He can simply command at His will (he already has that in the other animals), He wanted children who would choose to love Him as their Father. If there is no option of saying “no” then there is no choice and no free will; and free will is that grace which makes is in the image and likeness of God. The “Jesus route” was because God desired that humanity reach up to Him and, because we were incapable of sufficiently doing this on our own, He reached much further down to us and took on the burden for us. Jesus became man so that He could do what Adam did not; sacrifice himself for the love of the Father for the benefit of others. God didn’t simply choose to have Jesus killed arbitrarily, we needed to learn the lesson that “no greater love exists than for one to lay his life down on behalf of another.” Jesus freely chose to give His own life (remember His prayer in the Garden at Gesthemine) for our benefit. It was by this human act, supported by the divine grace that He has as the Son, that the gates of heaven were opened for us. The Sacrifice of the Cross was the greatest act of mercy and love the Father ever bestowed on us. Our problem is that we only tend to focus on the justice aspect of it and so our view becomes skewed and we consider it cruel.


#3

The Old Testament writers often used a literary device in which good people lived long lives. Really good people like Methuselah could therefore live to be 969 years old, which we know is a physical impossibility. But to the contemporary reader, it was simply meant to convey his goodness.

We know from real life that there’s no correlation between long lives and holy people, or short lives and wicked people. In fact, you could make a logical argument. . . if Jesus really loved His mother, why would He want her to wait hundreds of years before she could join Him in heaven?

The Father “killed” the human body of Jesus, knowing full well that it would be resurrected in three days. There’s nothing crazy in that. Yes, He “could” have saved us without the death of His Son, but perhaps we wouldn’t have appreciated it as much.


#4

[quote=theMutant]Because Mary’s sinlessness was only granted to her in order to provide the pure vessel (both physically and spiritually) which would be the human tabernacle of Jesus and the Arc of the New Covenant. In all other respects, Mary was just like you and I and she maintained her free will through it all. The fulness of grace she received simply prepared her to say “yes” where Eve said “no.” I consider it a wonderful blessing that Mary received this special grace because it allowed me to receive that grace which has been given to me and which I do not deserve; that grace won for us all through His sacrifice on the Cross.
[/quote]

In your response below, you speak of how important it is to have freewill and God doesn’t want puppets. I agree with this. But why doesn’t God give each of us the “fullness of grace”? Why not start with a perfect, clean, sinless slate with each person and then give us the will to choose or not choose God? This would solve the problem of do babies go to heaven, they are born sinless and until they sin they are in a state of grace. (BTW some Protestants do believe this. They believe that we are innocent at birth and until we can understand sin, we really don’t sin. They don’t believe in original sin hence the age of accountability.)

To restate my question: Adam, Eve, and Mary were born sinless and had freewill; Adam and Eve chose to sin, Mary did not; why not have everyone born like Adam/Eve/Mary? It would still allow us to have freewill and Jesus would not have had to die and be resurrected because instead of saying yes to Jesus we could just say no to sin instead like Mary did. Obviously Mary did not need a savior because she had no sin to be saved from!


#5

Here is a chart and some explaination of the dates. It also points out small problem with a Bible translation.
creationscience.com/onlinebook/FAQ312.html


#6

[quote=Paul W] The Father “killed” the human body of Jesus, knowing full well that it would be resurrected in three days. There’s nothing crazy in that. Yes, He “could” have saved us without the death of His Son, but perhaps we wouldn’t have appreciated it as much.
[/quote]

Sorry but it is crazy. If I tell you I love you and you don’t think that I am telling the truth, then I dump the body of my son on your doorstep for three days and then raise him back to life, you really think that this event is going to presuade you?

Would it not have been more presuasive to lavish gifts on my son rather than kill and raise him?

Would it have not been more presuasive to lavish gifts on you? Much like a lover might?


#7

As far as the death of Jesus I think that part of the reason was to show us just how much he loved us and what a great gift we were being given. It always bothered me as to why God would ask Abraham to sacrifice his son to prove his faith in God.

God knew Abraham’s faith and his son’s so maybe it was to show Abraham what kind of faith he had in God? I see something else beyond this – I think God was showing us just how much of a sacrifice and pain comes from a Father that surrendering his son. I really think this becomes apparent in his words,

"By myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son,”


#8

[quote=Psalm89]Sorry but it is crazy. If I tell you I love you and you don’t think that I am telling the truth, then I dump the body of my son on your doorstep for three days and then raise him back to life, you really think that this event is going to presuade you?

Would it not have been more presuasive to lavish gifts on my son rather than kill and raise him?

Would it have not been more presuasive to lavish gifts on you? Much like a lover might?
[/quote]

lol. I’m sorry but your comment “much like a lover might”. A human lover? I’ll send you flowers and a card. Material things would hardly persuade me. However, I think that Shibboleth had the right idea when she mentioned that its God showing how much He loves us that he would sacrifice His son. Think specifically about the trinity. The perfect union of 3 persons as one God. Closer than any relationship you could imagine on earth. It’s perfect.

For God (the father) to even imagine giving up His son… for what exactly? Sinful people? Many of which never will choose or even remotely desire to be close to him? He could be perfectly content with spending eternity with Himself (odd sounding but yes.) Its incredible. Its an amazing sacrafice. Why would he lower himself to humanity? He doesn’t NEED us. And many people think that we can say the same. that we don’t need Him. But you do. Everything about you was because of him, your heart and soul thirst for him and no matter how much your conscious thought may say you are independent, there is a part of you that will always long for God.

God lowers himself. God sacrifices himself. God suffers horrible, excruciating pain because He loves us, and will endure anything to have us be with Him. He can’t make us choose Him. That is slavery and there is no honor in love in that. We have a choice. But He has done everything He can so that we might choose to be with Him.

My heart wrenches at the thought that someone could love me so much that they would give their life for me. And obviously it wasn’t some quick drink of poison or shoot yourself in the heart. It was suffering to the utmost degree so that maybe we could comprehend just how much He loves us.

Emma

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12


#9

[quote=Psalm89]But why doesn’t God give each of us the “fullness of grace”? Why not start with a perfect, clean, sinless slate with each person and then give us the will to choose or not choose God? This would solve the problem of do babies go to heaven, they are born sinless and until they sin they are in a state of grace.

To restate my question: Adam, Eve, and Mary were born sinless and had freewill; Adam and Eve chose to sin, Mary did not; why not have everyone born like Adam/Eve/Mary? It would still allow us to have freewill and Jesus would not have had to die and be resurrected because instead of saying yes to Jesus we could just say no to sin instead like Mary did. Obviously Mary did not need a savior because she had no sin to be saved from!
[/quote]

Emphasis mine.

To start with the point I put in bold. Mary DID need a savior according to Catholic teaching. She was granted the same grace won for us by Christ and therefore, He is her savior as much as He is ours. By virtue of His unlimited power and will and the fact that God exists outside of time, He was able to give her this grace prior (chronologically speaking) to Christ’s physical sacrifice.

Regarding babies going to heaven, it must remembered that, while the Catholic Church teaches that she has the fullness of God’s revelation to us, she admits the possibility that God continues to work in ways that have not been revealed. She therefore, trusts in the mercy, love, and justice of God and simply does not have the answers for these things. In regard to the clean slate, however, the Church’s teachings of the baptism of desire and of blood apply. “Original sin” is not “our” sin, it is our state and that state can be overcome by God according to His own judgment. We are only held accountable for “actual” sin which only includes those acts we do knowing that they are wrong.

Giving us all the same grace He gave Mary would not have solved the problems of sin and salvation. As you yourself pointed out, Adam and Eve had that same state of original grace but they fell. I know that I certainly do not presume that I would do better than they. As long as there is free will, the possibility of sin and damnation exist. The only solution would be the elimination of free will, which would render us as mere animals and no longer in the image and likeness of God. (continued…)


#10

(continued from post #9)

You seem to feel that it would be better, or at least make more sense, if God had given us all this grace but I don’t agree. My disagreement is on two points:

1: You seem to feel that if we were all given the same grace as Mary, then Christ’s sacrifice would not have been necessary. I disagree because we would all still have free will and would be able to sin. If we sin, and there is no grace from the Cross, then we would have no hope of salvation. Without Christ’s grace our only options would be to never sin throughout our entire lives or go straight to hell. I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider myself to be another Mary and I’m very glad that I’ve got that grace to support me in my many failings.

2: Much is expected of those to whom much has been given. The Church refers to the sin of Adam as the “happy fault” because, although it was terrible and resulted in the state of original sin, it provided us with the mercy of God which allows us to reunite with Him after we have fallen. If we were in a state of original justice, then what does that imply when we sin? It means that our sin is even greater than it is now. We must remember that God is not only love and mercy, He is also justice and that all three of those qualities are perfect in their fullness and their application. If we were in a state of original justice, our sin would be even more horrible than it already is! Additionally, “there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over a hundered of the just who have no need of repentance.” We must not be like Job, who loves God but presumes to question His decisions. Our state and God’s choice in how to deal with it may be a mystery to us, by which the Church means that it is beyond our full understanding, but it is an act of His mercy and love that He has established His justice in the manner He chose. I, for one, am greatful.


#11

[quote=Psalm89]Sorry but it is crazy. If I tell you I love you and you don’t think that I am telling the truth, then I dump the body of my son on your doorstep for three days and then raise him back to life, you really think that this event is going to presuade you?

Would it not have been more presuasive to lavish gifts on my son rather than kill and raise him?

Would it have not been more presuasive to lavish gifts on you? Much like a lover might?
[/quote]

Let’s not forget there are three Persons in ONE God. God Himself became flesh. He didn’t “kill” anyone. He gave his life for us. He became one of us, the ultimate sacrifice. He doesn’t require anything of us that He didn’t do first, in the flesh. That is perectly just. In all our sufferings and death, we can turn to Him because he suffered it with us. It would be sort of like if one of your children had a terminal illness, and you took that illness upon yourself to suffer and die with him. But God took it a step further. He conquered death for us.


#12

This is the best answer I have heard so far, thank you. But here is the dilemma: If we chose Christ through our freewill how did Mary do this since she did not exist prior to her being born? Catholics do not believe in the pre-existence of the soul, so the decision BY HER to accept the grace would have had to been made after she was born and had cognitive abilities–unless of course she was predestined to be sinless and was made that way from conception, which “unlimited power” seems to eliminate freewill.

  1. If we are not accountable before God by one man, Adam, then how are we justified by one man, Jesus?

  2. “those acts we do knowing that they are wrong” So if someone was taught that murder is not wrong ie. a Nazi youth against the Jew or a young brainwashed Muslim fundamentalist who blows himself up, God would not hold them responsible?

Before Adam and Eve fell there was no problem. They needed no Savior, because they had not sinned. It was only after they sinned that a savior was promised. So…

If we were created sinless like Adam and Eve we would NOT need a savior. If we fell we most certainly would, but we might not fall–unless you believe it was inevitable that Adam and Eve would fall. Then it would be resonable that given enough time, Mary would have fallen too. Unless of course as you stated above she was somehow “saved” before she was born, which means she sinned before she existed. ONLY SINNERS need a savior, a perfect person does not. You cannot receive grace if you are sinless. Just like it would be illogical to assume that Adam and Eve received grace before the fall.


#13

Obviously Mary did not need a savior because she had no sin to be saved from!

Mary indeed needed a savior. She was preserved from original sin through the merits of Christ’s death on Calvary. Had God not willed to enter time in order to reconcile all mankind to Himself, no human would have been spared the consequences of the sins of Adam and Eve. Even Mary would have encountered original sin because she would not have been the pre-ordained vessel of the Living Word of God. See Luke 1:47


#14

Why not just make us holy? Why not will us back to sinlessness? Because there is an important part of the Incarnation that must be remembered: by taking on a human existance, we have a God that fully understands the Human condition. Jesus was hungry, angry, happy, sad, lonely, and all other human emotions and situations save sin. Thus, at judgement day, he will know our situation even better than we can imagine. Think of it. What excuse will you have for your sin? We cannot say, “But God, you were never really hungry, angry, etc.” No, Jesus was there, he knows.

Back to Mary. God preserved her from origional sin. She was tempted as we all are. God is outside of time. She was preserved because He knew she would say yes to His request that she mother our savior. It can be a difficult concept, I know, but the two things are connected forever. She says no, she would not have been preserved from origional sin. IT is not the preservation that forced her to say yes, it only predisposed her to it.


#15

[quote=Psalm89] If Mary is sinless why didn’t she have an unusually long life like Adam or Eve?
Psalm89
[/quote]

When there were only a few human beings, God allowed a much longer life span. You might also consider that because of her Immaculate Conception, she was without sin, or any of the impaired faculties that are the consequence of original sin, like death itself.

Being so much more sensitive than us, life would have been more difficult for her than anyone. When her mission in life was accomplished, after all her friends and family had died, there was no reason for her to remain separated from her beloved Son and spouse. Strictly speaking, since she did not die at all, there is no reason why she should not still be with us now. She does drop in once in a while, though :wink:

[quote=Psalm89] …
Why didn’t God the Father just make all of us sinless like Mary and skip sending Jesus?

Psalm89
[/quote]

He did make use sinless, originally. Adam and Eve sinned. Mary did the perfect will of God.

Without free will, we would not be able to love.
I don’t know why God would skip sending His precious Son to Die for us, except to show us the perfect example of love.
“Oh happy fault, Oh necessary sin of Adam…”

[INEFFABILIS DEUS (The Immaculate Conception)

Pope Pius IX

Apostolic Constitution issued on December 8, 1854](http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P9INEFF.HTM)

The Definition

Wherefore, in humility and fasting, we unceasingly offered our private prayers as well as the public prayers of the Church to God the Father through his Son, that he would deign to direct and strengthen our mind by the power of the Holy Spirit. In like manner did we implore the help of the entire heavenly host as we ardently invoked the Paraclete. Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: “We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.”[29]

Hence, if anyone shall dare„which God forbid!„to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should are to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he think in his heart.


#16

[quote=jjanderson]Let’s not forget there are three Persons in ONE God. God Himself became flesh. He didn’t “kill” anyone. He gave his life for us. He became one of us, the ultimate sacrifice. He doesn’t require anything of us that He didn’t do first, in the flesh. That is perectly just. In all our sufferings and death, we can turn to Him because he suffered it with us. It would be sort of like if one of your children had a terminal illness, and you took that illness upon yourself to suffer and die with him. But God took it a step further. He conquered death for us.
[/quote]

Praise God, that Jesus did conquer death for us. But the dilemma remains. Either:

  1. Jesus death and resurrection has a legal justification or it is a demonstration of love.

If it is a demonstration of love, then suicide is a bad way to show love. You are supposing that Jesus gave his life without the father’s consent. Obviously this isn’t true. The Father and the Son are separate persons in the Trinity, but are of one accord and one God. The Father sent the Son to die and be resurrected, and the Son chose to do it in perfect accord.

A father tells a rebellious child that he loves him and the child refuses to listen, so the father nails himself to a piece of wood and dies. He then comes back to life and says, “See child, I love you so much I killed myself for you! And you can have eternal life now!” Would the child be convinced? Not necessarily, because of freewill. That means that the father’s death was and resurrection was a failure to capture the child’s love–hence the act of showing love would be a failure if the child refuses to accept it. This then has a profound theological implication–which Jesus died for people in hell, and failed in his mission to those people. Since Jesus is God it means that God is a failure. Since the act on the cross was only a demonstration of love, then Jesus simply becomes a moral example and doesn’t actually save anyone. He just demonstrated love by suicide and hoped that would be enough to convince people to love Him.

  1. On the other hand if the Jesus died for the people that were given to Him by the Father (the elect) then Jesus perfectly saved those people without failure. The reprobate damn themselves though, God does not; there is no double predestination.

#17

I’m getting different answers now:

  1. From teachccd: That Mary was "she was preserved from original sin through the merits of Christ’s death on Calvary. , but Even Mary would have encountered original sin because she would not have been the pre-ordained vessel of the Living Word of God. I guess that means that she was PREDESTINED.

Fine I can live with that, she was predestined to carry Jesus. But now the facts as told to me in the post:

  1. Mary is sinless because of through the merits of Christ’s death on Calvary.
  2. But she couldn’t have become sinless unless she said yes, allowing Christ to come to earth, she held the power to say no.
  3. But she was already made sinless even though Christ hadn’t come yet.
  4. So somehow she said yes before she was born, because God is outside of time.
  5. Mary while completely free of sin, needed a savior to save her from sin. Even though sinless people do not need saviors, except in the case of Mary.
  6. Mary succeeded where Adam and Eve failed (as it pertains to sin.)
  7. “by taking on a human existence, we have a God that fully understands the Human condition.” That God who is all knowing cannot know the human condition except through experience.
  8. Jesus died to save us by showing love. His death and resurrection didn’t save anyone, it just showed us he is loving.
  9. Pope Pius IX made Marian doctrine infallible in 1854 and condemned people who didn’t agree with it.

#18

[quote=Psalm89]Praise God, that Jesus did conquer death for us. But the dilemma remains. Either:

  1. Jesus death and resurrection has a legal justification or it is a demonstration of love.(END QUOTE=Psalm89)

REPLY:
Legal justification as taught by Luther is not a doctrine that Catholics adhere to. Luther’s idea of justification was that grace was imputed to us, not infused as the Catholic church teaches. In other words, that we are only “declared just” not actually made just through the power of the Cross. (As if the Christ’s Passion and Death were not powerful enough to actually make us just.) Luther compared us to a “pile of dung covered with snow,” the dung being us and the snow God’s grace, that we were still dung underneath the grace. The Catholic church teaches as St. Paul did: “Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.” 2Cor 5:17-18.
Also, see ROm 6:19, 22. God doesn’t use psychology to enamor us, he uses supernatural grace, which He can do cause He’s God. You and I are not. And no, I did not say the Son acted apart from the Father. “Behold, I come to do thy will, O God.” Heb10:9.
Peace in Christ +
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#19

[quote=
]

Mary’s sinlessness is explicitly linked with Christ’s merits. Without the Incarnation and Passion, Mary wouldn’t have been sinless: she needed Christ and so do we. Joe
[/quote]


#20

One of the posts said that Mary died and another said that she didn’t. If I understand correcty the Church has not taken an official stance on this matter. Although from what I have heard on Catholic Ansewers Live radio is that it is generaly regarded that she did die.


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